Is your own training defeating you?
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Growing up in the martial arts, I encountered so many teachers who were broken. Worn out joints, damaged tissue, traumatic injuries, chronic pain – most of them were unable to perform or demonstrate their art properly anymore, yet they were held up as shining examples of their disciplines. Many, though not all, were broken by a youth of competition; many others simply by their own training methodologies. This always seemed incredibly unwise to me – to practice an art which is designed to protect you, and yet the practice in and of itself is what defeats you!
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This applies across many disciplines of course, not just the martial arts – we can see it in the worlds of sports, athletics, movement and, most ironically, fitness.
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Yet there are also those in every discipline who last and endure and remain healthy and strong long into old age. My sword master in Japan was one, still routinely outpacing those 50-60 years younger than himself, and I know similar individuals across many disciplines, be it running, parkour, athletics, dance, whatever.
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The common factor in their practice is balance, usually an avoidance of competition, and a holistic approach to living and training. They don’t rush, they move often but with attention to what they are doing, they restrain their ego, and their fitness comes as a byproduct of their lifestyle, it never becomes the absolute focus. They relax, they eat well, they laugh often, and they maintain the basics.
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The root of the word ‘health’ is the same as that of the word ‘whole’. So practice the whole and you will find health. Move beyond ‘fitness’.
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So if your training is breaking you down rather than lifting you up; leaving you drained rather than creating an energetic surplus; hindering your lifestyle rather than flowing from it… maybe it’s time to take a step back and reassess. I’ll be going into this philosophy and more in practical movement workshops around the world this year.

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